They seem an unlikely pair -- former Mexican President Vicente Fox and the nonprofit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission.
But the charismatic Fox is the big draw Wednesday night at a major fundraiser, the charity's Hope of the Valley Business Forum.
Fox will deliver the keynote address focused on business opportunities in Mexico and the Hispanic market in Southern California.
Fox is also an acquaintance of a mission board member so he readily agreed to the appearance. Rowan Vansleve, the mission's general manager, met Fox in March when he spoke to a breakfast business gathering at the Luxe Hotel downtown.
"When we approached him, he graciously embraced us and said he would be in L.A. for a prior engagement and would do anything he could to help," Vansleve said.
He is not surprised that the former Mexican leader is donating his time to the mission.
"President Fox spends most of his time as a philanthropic leader. He raises money for his presidential library and his charity in Mexico. It's kind of similar ... to what a lot of former American presidents are doing now," Vansleve said.
During his earlier visit, Fox also sat down for an interview with the Daily News, discussing themes similar to those he will share on Wednesday night.
"The Hispanic market ... it's a huge market," Fox said at the time. "If we can put together a Mexican businessman and a U.S. businessman, they will find a way to do more business.
"This is why I always claim that, instead of building walls, we should be building bridges."
His topic will be "Business Opportunities in Emerging Markets Here and Abroad."
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Odyssey restaurant, 15600 Odyssey Drive, Granada Hills.
Ticket prices start at $100 but a 25 percent discount is available until 5 p.m. on Monday by calling 818-392-0020, Vansleve said.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also is scheduled to attend. And there will be a panel discussion including Fox, Chivas USA owner Antonio Cue and several other business executives.
Vansleve is expecting about 400 people at the event.
It's going to be a "Red Day" next Thursday. That's when Keller Williams real estate offices across the country shut down, employees don red shirts and undertake community projects.
The Studio City office will be out in force sprucing up a section of the Los Angeles River near the Richard Lillard Outdoor Classroom on Valleyheart Drive at Longridge Avenue, said agent Nicole Costas, who is organizing the event.
Between 20 and 25 office workers will remove litter, graffiti and invasive non-native plants. They will also restore the soil and plant trees and shrubs.
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